Did you know there are new and used shipping containers located near you all across the United States that are available to purchase? Better yet, did you know you can have them delivered directly to your business or home? If you’re unfamiliar with buying a shipping container, and want to know where to begin, we can help! This guide has everything you need to navigate the shipping container buying process, as well as some questions you should consider before making your purchase. (ModuGo also has rental options for our shipping containers.)
One shipping container does not fit all. When browsing online, you can find several different types. While standard shipping containers fit most needs, you can also purchase a high cube container if you want an extra foot of height, or a specialty container which offers different door configurations. Container offices are also increasing in popularity, especially in the construction industry.
Before you buy a shipping container, you should assess your options and find the best configuration for your needs and space.
While containers range from 10 feet to 53 feet long, 20-foot and 40-foot containers are the standard sizes. Both have an external height of 8 feet 6 inches. If you need additional height, you can get a high cube container. It’s a foot taller, giving you more clearance (9’ 6”).
A 20-foot standard container is essentially the size of a one-car garage, while a 40-foot container is the equivalent of a two-car garage due to the extra length.
Shipping containers can be broken down into two major categories, New and Used. However, the analysis doesn’t stop there. New containers are also called 1-Trip containers as they have been shipped overseas with cargo once before being available for sale. New (1-Trip) containers will be in excellent shape, will have monotone paint and will generally not have large logos on the side. These containers are excellent for customer facing locations.
Used containers can be significantly less expensive than the new options. Used containers will all have some minor dings, dents and surface rust as they have been used in overseas freight for years. However, there are several additional gradings or classifications that you may encounter. Those are IICL, Cargo Worthy, Wind & Watertight and As-Is.
The most common options are Cargo Worthy and Wind & Watertight. Both of these options are excellent choices for storage. Cargo Worthy containers have generally been inspected and deemed worthy of being used for shipping goods over land or sea (although they may not have valid CSC plates and documentation to be shipped internationally). Wind & Watertight containers have been deemed suitable for storage only but may not look that visibly different than a Cargo Worthy option. Some companies will use the terms “A-Grade” or “B-Grade” which is a purely subjective scale that can vary from company to company but can generally be correlated to the appearance of a Wind & Watertight container.
As-Is containers will likely have holes, damage to the floors and/or non-functioning doors.
IICL containers are generally the nicest condition of used containers sold. They have been through a specific and detailed grading process set forth by the Institute of International Container Lessors.
The final consideration is the door configuration. Standard containers will have one set of double cargo doors on one short 8 ft. end of the container. These are by far the most common option and are available in used and new/1-trip options. If a standard door container will not work for you, there are also Double Door containers (doors on both small ends) and Open Side containers (one long side will open) containers. Although less common, there are also Flat Rack and Open Top containers that can be purchased.
Deciding whether you should rent or buy a shipping container can be difficult. You want what is best for your business or personal wallet, and in many cases, that means you should purchase a container. Ask yourself two questions to determine if you should buy a shipping container.
Will you need a container for a year or longer? If so, buying it is a wise choice. You will save money in the long run by purchasing instead of renting it. However, if you need extra storage for seasonal use or temporary jobs there is no better solution than a rental.
Ownership has its privileges, such as the ability to modify the container. Rented containers are generally required to stay in the same location. Purchased containers can obviously be taken anywhere the owner desires. Lastly, owning the container affords you the benefit of being able to sell it later without any of the design or modification restrictions of renting.
Different industries and individuals rely on shipping containers for storage and makeshift offices. These industries include:
Because shipping containers can be modified, they work for almost all industries. Construction might be the most common, but these containers are popping up just about anywhere you can imagine. Contemporary building designers can be found all over the world, refurbishing them into everything from small, affordable living spaces to large buildings,, restaurants, coffee shops, you name it. All of these designs look sleek, minimize space, and have environmental benefits.
Buying a shipping container is a straightforward process with ModuGo. The following information can help make it even easier:
When you shop for shipping containers, you’ll be surprised by how widely prices can vary. At ModuGo we guarantee the lowest price on your shipping container. We shop city by city and state by state to ensure we are finding the best prices across the country. With our access to tens of thousands of containers, we can find exactly what you need and at a great price. If you find a lower price somewhere else, just let us know and we will beat it!
Used shipping containers are normally delivered on roll-off trailers. However, you also have the option of picking up your shipping container if you wish. If you use a site that allows you to compare prices, you can factor in the cost of delivery, as well. Remember, if you find a used shipping container that’s located close to your home, the delivery cost will be lower.
Generally, 40’ containers are delivered on a 40+ foot trailer pulled behind a truck. This can be a pickup truck or a day-cab/semi. At ModuGo, we will work with our customers to ensure that the truck being used to deliver the container is the best choice for the delivery site.
By contrast, 20’ containers are typically delivered on a tilt-bed tow truck (what they use to tow vehicles with 4-wheel drive). These trucks are more maneuverable and have a smaller turning radius, allowing them to deliver the containers to tighter spots..
You must prepare for the delivery and placement of the shipping container. The trucks that deliver shipping containers can weigh up to 45,000 pounds, so they require a hard surface. If the drivers attempt to maneuver through wet grass or mud, they can get stuck resulting in added costs and hassle.
When considering where your container will rest the most important consideration is avoiding a location where water can pool at the base of the container. This can be accomplished by using railroad ties or some other moveable foundation beneath the container. This can also be accomplished by laying gravel or another base that will drain water easily.
If you do decide to use railroad ties, you should ensure that you have someone there to move them during delivery. While they may be able to help, you should not assume that the delivery driver will be able to move them for you.
Finally, make sure the delivery site and path through the property are free and clear of debris to save time and energy on the day of delivery.
The trucks also need ample space at your delivery site to maneuver. Assume that you will need the following:
Now you have the information you need to take the next steps. Browse the ModuGo website and try buying a shipping container, today! If you find a similar shipping container in your area for a better price, try our price match guarantee to make sure you get the best deal possible.
ModuGo’s online store makes buying a shipping container easy. Our 3-step process is as simple as:
Place your order online
Sit back and relax
If you have more questions, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us directly!